Arguably two of the finest modern car films, there’s something exceptionally enticing about both Drive (directed by Nicolas Winding Refn in 2011) and Baby Driver (Edgar Wright, 2017). With very similar plots and themes running through both movies – although executed in very different ways – it’s easy to see why dozens of comparisons have been made between the films since the release of Baby Driver last year.
I’m not here to break the two down stylistically or even offer a critical view over the direction of either film. Instead, I’m going to outline exactly how to improve your street cred by imitating the ineffable cool of the protagonists.
- Say as little as possible
Presuming you’ve seen these movies, you’ll remember how neither of their main characters is particularly chatty. While it might seem that this has little to do with their driving prowess, maintaining a mysterious and slightly aloof persona is a very vital part of being a badass.
After a few lines of dialogue at the beginning of Drive, Ryan Gosling doesn’t utter another word until 11 minutes into the film. Fifteen minutes in, and he’s only spoken eight. In fact, in the entire movie, the Driver only says 891 words. Every line of dialogue is kept as short as possible – so much that it would almost be comical, if it weren’t so damn cool.
In Baby Driver, the main character, played by Ansel Elgort, is less ‘brooding’ and more ‘suffering from tinnitus’. Rather than attempting sociable conversation, Baby prefers to have his iPod earbuds in at every opportunity and read the lips of his cohorts in crime. Despite being much chattier than Gosling’s character, this deliberate exclusion from conversation makes him enigmatic and edgy, even to his on-screen fellows.
Whether you take up the challenge of only using monosyllabic retorts or simply want to drown the rest of the world out with your favourite playlist, keeping schtum is the first step to imitating these guys.
- Have a badass soundtrack to compensate
Obviously, if you’re making a commitment to staying as silent as possible, you’re going to need something to fill in the gaps where talking would usually be. Whether your ride is sporting a killer sound system or a simple tape deck, it’s time to get yourself some iconic tracks.
The best tracks from Drive are either Nightcall, by Kavinsky, or A Real Hero, by College (feat. Electric Youth). Their pulsing, electro beats wax just the right amount of 80s’ nostalgia, backed by undeniably cool pop synths. In Baby Driver, the key tracks have to be opening number, Bellbottoms, by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Unsquare Dance, by The Dave Brubeck Quartet or maybe Hocus Pocus, by Focus – it all depends on your vibe.
If you don’t want to lift your tunes straight from the movies but still need a little inspiration, Justice or Daft Punk have a very similar synth-based French-electro sound to Kavinsky, while Strange Times by The Black Keys is reminiscent of the bluesy Bellbottoms.
- Drive like a maniac
Finally – we’re on to the good stuff. Once you’ve mastered an intriguing silence, you need to brush up on your mad driving skills. Yes, high-speed car chases and double-rolls should absolutely be left to the professionals, but there are still a bunch of tricks you can learn to help you become an ace behind the wheel – and you can even learn some of the basics with these cool drifting games.
Ryan Gosling actually took a crash course (no pun intended) in stunt car driving before Drive filming commenced, and there are plenty of places you can learn to master the exhilarating skill of drifting, spins or J-turns – albeit in a safe, controlled environment.
- Work for a questionable boss
Now, you might already have some reservations about your employer, but are they affiliated with the Mob? Unlikely. While spinning around through the city streets might seem like fun, if you’re not running one last “errand” for a boss that would shoot you as soon as shake your hand, then you’re not doing it right.
I mean, technically you are, but you’re not any closer to becoming an epic getaway driver.
- Have an older dude to help you get through
It’s also important that you have a kindly companion acting as somewhat of a father figure for you. Gosling’s character has Shannon (played by Bryan Cranston and, no, I didn’t know it was a guy’s name either), while Elgort’s lives with his deaf friend, Joseph.
You might want to pick your mentor wisely, as Shannon is ultimately doing business with the bad guys while Joseph is much more well-meaning. It won’t matter in the end though, as your evil boss will be using them as collateral either way.
- Enjoy tender moments with your damsel in distress
Oozing this much cool comes with its perks – namely an attractive young damsel for you to get all mushy over. Think Carey Mulligan or Lily Rose. Ideally, she’ll be wide-eyed and innocent and require some sort of protection from the dark underworld her life is unknowingly brushing up against… sort of because of her connection with you.
You’re likely to find your damsel scraping a living together on minimum wage, in a job that allows her to just up and leave should she need to flee (think corner shop or diner). Your gal needs to be made from a mixture of sweetness and tough stuff – it’s entirely possible that your ex-colleagues will hold up her workplace at some point in the future, or you might need to smashing up a hitman’s head in front of her.
- Get yourself a really, really cool jacket
Finally, you’ll notice that despite changing their vehicle as the situation requires, neither Baby or The Driver like to stray too far from their favourite jackets. Baby opts for an understated varsity bomber jacket in navy and light grey, while The Driver goes for a satin quilted windbreaker with a golden scorpion emblazoned on the back… maybe consider which would look most at home with your current wardrobe and choose something similar.
Finish the look with some sunglasses, and you’re good to go.